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Four United youngsters get England World Cup call-up

by Sam Peoples

Larnell Cole, Michael Keane, Tom Thorpe and Sam Johnstone have all been called by Peter Taylor into England’s provisional 35-man squad for the U20 World Cup.

The majority of the squad have previous experience of representing the Three Lions at youth level but there is a first call-up for Leeds United’s Sam Byram, Newcastle’s Gael Bigirimana, West Brom’s Donervorn Daniels and Tottenham’s Alex Pritchard.

It caps off what has been a fantastic season for all four of the youngsters. Only this week, Cole scored a fantastic hat-trick against Liverpool on to secure United’s spot in the national U21s Elite Premier League final against Tottenham.

Thorpe also had a great season with the U21s that culminated in a nomination for the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year. The U21s captain has been one of the stalwarts of the campaign, even playing at centre-back at times to cover for injuries.

Keane also experienced his best season so far at United in one that saw him make his first team debut against Newcastle and go on to play Chelsea. It will be a much needed perk for Keane after his year cruelly ended in despair on loan at Leicester with Watford’s incredible counter-attack goal in the play-off semi-final after Leicester missed a penalty.

And Johnstone has been brilliant in goal at points for the U21s this season. Ben Amos’ return may have limited his game time but he played a massive role in United going over eight hours without conceding this season.

Taylor will narrow his squad down to 21 players on Friday 7 June where all four will be hoping to make the cut.

The U20 World Cup will take place in Turkey from 21 June-13 July and England have been drawn in Group E alongside Iraq, Chile and Egypt which could see Angelo Henriquez square up with Keane.

Here is the full provisional squad.

Jamal Blackman (Chelsea), Sam Johnstone (Manchester United), George Long (Sheffield United), Connor Ripley (Middlesbrough)

Jake Bidwell (Everton), Sam Byram (Leeds United), Donervorn Daniels (West Bromwich Albion), Eric Dier (Sporting Lisbon), Jon Flanagan (Liverpool), Luke Garbutt (Everton), Michael Keane (Manchester United), Jamaal Lascelles (Nottingham Forest), Liam Moore (Leicester City), Daniel Potts (West Ham United), Adam Reach (Middlesbrough), Jack Robinson (Liverpool), John Stones (Everton), Tom Thorpe (Manchester United)

Ross Barkley (Everton), Gael Bigirimana (Newcastle United), Jake Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion), Conor Coady (Liverpool), Larnell Cole (Manchester United), John Lundstram (Everton), Alex Pritchard (Tottenham Hotspur), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Patrick Bamford (Chelsea), Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion), Adam Campbell (Newcastle United), Max Clayton (Crewe Alexandra), Rob Hall (West Ham United), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Chris Long (Everton), Nathan Redmond (Birmingham City), Luke Williams (Middlesbrough)

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